UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will no longer fight in the co-main event of UFC 226 due to issues surrounding the health of the champion.
According to various reports from John Morgan of MMA Junkie, Brett Okamoto of ESPN and Ariel Helwani of ESPN, a plan had started forming to have former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar face Jeremy Stephens at UFC 226 for the vacant interim featherweight title.
An apparent hitch was Edgar himself, whom just gotten stem cell shots in his shoulder and wouldn’t be cleared in time to take the fight.
No official word available at this late hour, unfortunately, but I’ve spoken with multiple people who have told me that with Holloway-Ortega off, @FrankieEdgar vs. Jeremy Stephens (@LiLHeathenMMA) is being considered for an interim title at #UFC226.— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) July 5, 2018
Per sources, the UFC tried to make Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens for interim featherweight title late, late last night, but it’s just too short of notice for Edgar. He wanted to do it, I’m told, but wasn’t feasible.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 5, 2018
According to Frankie Edgar’s coach Mark Henry, FE received a stem cell shot in his shoulder less than a wk ago & doctors said he must rest for 2 wks. He would’ve been open to a fight on 3 days notice but he wouldn’t have been cleared. Won’t sideline him for long but Sat too soon.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2018
However, a tweet from Shaheen Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting Edgar was ready to take the fight on a few days notice, according to Edgar’s manager in Ali Abdelaziz:
Frankie Edgar's manager @AliAbdelaziz00 tells me Frankie is 100% down to fight either Ortega or another featherweight for an interim title this Saturday. Says Frankie could be in Las Vegas by tomorrow if needed.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) July 5, 2018
There is no word at this time as to when Hollway vs. Ortega will get re-booked or how long Holloway is expected to be out of action.
UFC 226 takes place on Saturday, July 7 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.